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The fight for working-class voters | FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast


A lot has been made of the diploma divide in American politics over the past decade. Voters with a college degree and those without, moving in opposite political directions. What’s perhaps less commonly noted is which side of that divide has the strength in numbers.

Only 38 percent of adult Americans have a college degree, according to the U.S. Census. The composition of the electorate can change from year to year and place to place, but nationally it is never the case that college-educated voters make up the majority. So-called “working-class” voters take that distinction.

In 2016, as has been widely reported, white working-class voters shifted decisively to the right. In 2020, working-class voters of color followed suit to varying degrees, though still giving President Joe Biden a clear majority of their support. This has left both parties with the understanding that going forward a multiracial, working-class majority will play a pivotal role in their electoral fortunes. So why have we seen these recent shifts to the right and what will both parties do to either capitalize on or reverse these trends?

In this installment of the 538 Politics podcast, Galen speaks with two authors who have recently published books about precisely those questions, but from opposite sides of the political aisle. Democratic political scientist Ruy Teixeira recently co-wrote the book “Where Have All The Democrats Gone? The Soul Of The Party In The Age Of Extremes” along with John Judis. Republican pollster Patrick Ruffini wrote the book, “Party Of The People: Inside The Multiracial Populist Coalition Remaking the GOP.”


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